Happy Snowstorm Week, wrestling fans. Lonestar here, somehow finding the intestinal fortitude to both handle slippery road conditions and review a weekly wrestling program. I know, it’s almost as hard as patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. Or using both a fork and a knife!

….anyway, here’s this week’s show!

Man, that crowd was dead, wasn’t it? Sometimes that’s what you get when you film four shows in a row, right? To recap, the Ascension retained, Kassius Ohno got squashed back onto the Indys, the BFFs beat Bayley and Natalya, Mojo Rawley beat Scott Dawson and Leo Kruger defeated Sami Zane. If you think back on those matchups, none of them really ended up being a big, fancy NXT-style match. That’s not to say there wasn’t good wrestling or enjoyable segments during tonight’s episode, but I think the combination of wanting to get a lot done in 45 minutes and filming at the end of a long taping kind of put a damper on the show.

Let’s discuss further, starting with the commentary.

Crankypants:

I think the first sign that this episode was filmed at the end of a long night was the abrasiveness of the commentary team. They were…a little cranky. Regal was calling everybody out on their crap and Alex and even Tom were showing a little spine as well. Luckily the fellas calmed it down a bit and settled in to work more and more as the show went on.

…I might be mentioning this here because I was paying a little more attention to commentary than I should have during the first match. That might be because…

The NXT tag division is the worst it’s ever been:

Hyperbole is overrated, but since NXT’s tag team championships have a short and sweet history, mostly filled with a talented British man feuding with the Wyatt Family, I think I can safely say that tonight’s title match between the Ascension and the Mexicans of Varying Authenticity highlights how right now is the least interesting the NXT tag division has ever been. Don’t get me wrong, things have been much worse in many other tag divisions throughout wrestling history, but for NXT this is a definite dip in the graph.

Skipping past the fact that Camacho and Hunico were fast-tracked to the #1 Contender’s position because the Ascension had to feud with somebody and therefore have very little momentum or interest behind them, their title match tonight alternated between slow and sloppy. The Ascension were already struggling with their own momentum issues, so the two teams fumbling their way through a paint-by-numbers tag match in front of an apathetic crowd was about as well received as you’d think it would be. I don’t know if the lack of response started messing with the wrestlers’ heads, but if that was the case it would explain why Rick Victor’s timing went all to crap in the last half minute. Seriously, check out his removal from the ring and then his part of the finish to see what I’m talking about.

If there was one bright spot in the match, it’d be Hunico turning his rollup on Rick Victor into a full-fledged powerbomb. I ain’t ever seen Sin Cara do that!

EDIT: Oh god, I was just shown Sin Carunico’s powerbomb on Del Rio from this week’s Raw. Why!? How!? Por que!!!!!?????

Ohno’s Last Stand:

Let it go on record that Chris Hero’s last WWE match was an entertaining squash against Alexander Rusev, during which the Bulgarian destroyed the dude’s back. Fallaway slam into a Samoan drop? Ouchies.

And, now that he is done with NXT, if you’d like to see the former Kassius Ohno live and in color, you can check out his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thechrishero to find out information on the many indy shows he’s going to appear at. I can only assume said appearances will involve more elbows strikes than we’ve seen the past month. Just a hunch, anyway.

And yes, the picture above this section is of Hero and Antonio Cesaro during an earlier version of their tag team. They’ve come a long way.

Stupid fan of the night:

Tonight’s stupid fan award goes to the guy holding the “Fire this Man” sign. I noticed him and his sign off and on during this four-episode taping, but when I saw it come up tonight for Alexander Rusev…come on man. If you showed up to my place of business requesting my termination and subsequent inability to pay rent and put food on my table there’d be an airborne hunk of animal s**t with your name on it. There’s a difference and a line between “You suck” and “You should be fired” and you crossed it.

Thank you divas:

Darn it NXT divas, you might be the most consistent part of the show.

I really liked the fire Bayley and Natalya brought to the diva’s tag match this week. Their teamwork and overall energy helped make the bout my favorite of the night. Just a good, quick, impactful match that didn’t overstay its welcome and made everybody look good. Between tonight and last week’s NXT Diva’s title match against Paige, I’d say leave the door open for Natalya to show up at any time.

Also, in an unrelated Diva’s note, I find the way Sasha Banks walks to be attractive. I’m slightly ashamed of this knowledge and the fact that I just shared it with you.

The dumbest thing Alex Riley said this week:

Something about there being guys that don’t throw suplexes as well as Natalya. Why wouldn’t there be guys that don’t throw suplexes as well as Natalya? Is it…is it because….she’s Canadian?

Mojo Rawley’s is secretly John Cena, part 3:

Mojo Rawley’s walk down “Golden Boy Path” had a couple footnotes this week, and they are as follows:

He got the live crowd to cheer for him based off entrance energy and charisma alone.
He got his ass kicked the entire match before hitting his finishing sequence and winning.

A John Cena is he.

If I was a wrestler I would have shriveled up and died during the main event:

Continuing tonight’s theme of “OMG the crowd is dead”, Sami Zane and Leo Kruger had a hard-hitting match that got to the point and capped off the taping. They received little to no reaction from the crowd for their efforts, to the degree that I now feel the need to apologize to the men involved in tonight’s opening match. Maybe it actually wasn’t you?

What I liked about the main event was that it gave Leo Kruger a bit of needed boost and was set up a bit differently than most Sami Zane matches we’ve received in the past. Kruger came with a game-plan and a purpose and hit Sami hard from the beginning, which he never really recovered from. It was, however, a bit of step down for Sami to lose so quickly, but the after-match stuff showed that this is just the start of a feud that will keep both men busy and creating good matches. The fact that the fans finally started to react to the post-match stuff is a welcome sign that they’re invested in the feud.

If only the commentary team had been clued into Kruger trying to take out Zane in the back, then none of this would have any weird ramifications for Sami’s face alignment. Unless…they were planning on slowly turning Zayn heel?
 

What did you think of tonight’s show? Are you all fans of Alexander Rusev, or has he been coasting ever since he took Dolph Ziggler to the limit? Let your voice be heard!

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P.S. You should maybe buy one of my exciting, well-written books by traveling down the link above. I’ll leave you this gif (made by wrasslormonkey) as bribery.